Monday, June 8, 2009
By Ballav Dahal-The Rising Nepal
Peter Athans, a renowned American mountaineer, believes that the ongoing Mustang Cave Project will be of great significance for conserving the rare ancient arts and artifacts that are associated with Buddhism. "This will highlight the entire Mustang region as an important tourist attraction internationally," the seven-time Everest summiteer said.
The Mustang Cave Project has been in operation under the coordination of the Department of Archaeology. The project has made inventories of over 50 caves that reflect the arts and architectures in the period between 6th and 12th centuries. National Geographic Channel has also been involved in this project.
Peter first climbed Mt. Everest in 1990. Peter, a senior athlete of The North Face, is one of foreign experts associated with this unique project. He is also known simply as ‘Mr. Everest’ in some circles for his several successful Everest attempts and unwavering involvement in the field of mountaineering. He says that the people have known about the caves over thousands of years. "More recently, the majestic caves have been used as venues for deep meditation and practices of Buddhism," he says. For the first time, he had seen the caves when he first visited the Annapurna Region in 1981.
He is hopeful that the conservation bids will inspire future generations to study the ancient history, archaeology and anthropology. "Mustang and the Kaligandaki valley are a melting pot of the different cultures and traditions," he adds.
He further says that the project will be able to attract more people from various parts of the world to carry out researches and studies about this archaeologically and anthropologically important site.
Jiban Ghimire, a young and promising tourism entrepreneur, has also been effortful in making the project a success. A recipient of the highest medal of recognition from the American Alpine Club for a rescue featured in the bestselling book and feature film—Into Thin Air, he has participated in many expeditions.
As somebody who has visited Nepal for a number of times, he has adopted Nepal as a second home. "Being a climber, I want to explore many more peaks in the Himalayas," the veteran climber says. He says he is highly influenced by the culturally rich people and majestic mountains in Nepal.
Meanwhile, Peter’s wife Liesl Clark has made a film entitled ‘Lost Treasures of Tibet’, which is based on cultures and traditions of Mustang. As a senior mountaineering instructor, he shares his professional skills and techniques with the Nepalese mountain guides and climbers at the Khumbu Climbing School. The institute has been established by Alex Lowe Charitable Foundation. Similarly, he has taken the lead role in setting up children’s libraries in the Khumbu Region and Mustang.
Posted by www.trekandclimb.com at 8:27 PM